Detroit Tigers: Should they pursue outfielder Johnny Field?
The Detroit Tigers are looking to sell more than to buy, but a young rookie outfielder just became available who they should consider pursuing.
Detroit Tigers’ general manager Al Avila is definitely preoccupied these days. Trying to find trade partners for veterans Mike Fiers, Leonys Martin and Francisco Liriano is likely occupying nearly all of his time. Additionally; Jose Iglesias, Shane Greene, Michael Fulmer and a handful of others are certainly fielding interest from opposing teams.
With all the focus on selling, it may be hard to consider adding talent to the roster. However, sometimes talented players become available and deserve a closer look. One such player is former Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Johnny Field, whom was designated for assignment earlier today.
Who is Johnny Field?
Field is a 26-year-old former fifth-round pick who made his big league debut this season. He spent five very quality seasons in Tampa’s farm system, posting double-digit home runs and steals in every season between 2014-2017.
In 2017, Field hit .261 with 12 home runs and 12 stolen bases in 111 games at Triple-A Durham. He started 2018 at Triple-A but after just 10 games, where he hit .351, he was promoted.
Field has shown glimpses of promise in the big leagues, hitting six home runs and stealing four bases in 63 games. He also posted an ugly 3.9% walk rate and an even uglier 32.4% strikeout rate. His .213/.253/.373 certainly leaves quite a bit to be desired as well.
However, there is still some intrigue here. For a franchise that is in the market for reclamation projects, Field is a worthwhile investment. His strikeout numbers in the minor leagues were considerably better than what he posted in a small big league sample, so it’s safe to anticipate that those will come down with time. He’s never had elite plate discipline, but a reduction in the strikeouts would help Field quite a bit as he adjusts to major league pitching.
Additionally, Field is capable of playing all three outfield positions, and has graded out very positively in both left and center.
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Field is very similar to another former Rays outfielder in his mid-20’s that the Tigers claimed from the Rays: Mikie Mahtook. And while Mahtook has been a disappointment this year, his excellent .283/.356/.486 second half in 2017, which came with eight home runs and five stolen bases, was a huge boost for a team that really needed it.
Perhaps Field, who had better minor league numbers than Mahtook, can be that spark-plug for the Detroit Tigers in 2018.